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G7 Leaders Back $50B Loan Proposal For War-Torn Ukraine On Day 1 Of Summit

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The Group of Seven (G7) meeting opened on Thursday, with the countries agreeing to provide a $50 billion loan package to Ukraine as it fights out Russia. The annual summit which is being held in southern Italy was attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for a second successive year. The money and the security support were announced during the summit with the intention to show Russian President Vladimir Putin that the world’s leading industrialised democracies were standing behind Ukraine.

The agreement will leverage interest and income from more than $260 billion in frozen Russian assets, largely held in Europe, to secure a USD 50 billion loan from the US and additional loans from other partners, as per a PTI report.

US President Joe Biden said the agreement to tap into the windfall profits on some $280 billion in frozen Russian assets held in Europe would put that money to work for Ukraine. “Another reminder to (Vladimir) Putin: We’re not backing down. In fact, we’re standing together against this illegal aggression,” Biden told reporters, according to AP news. 

Ukraine will be able to spend the money in several areas, including for military, economic, humanitarian and reconstruction needs, a senior US official said, as per PTI.

As per the report, the agreement was hashed out hours before Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni opened the summit, saying she wanted the message of the meeting to be one of dialogue with the global south and unity.

However, the gathering had the feel of leaders racing against the clock as several countries are holding elections this year and it could result in a new, more conservative leadership which is less focused on Ukraine. At the top of the list is the White House race in November that could see the return of Republican Donald Trump to the American presidency.

Aside from Ukraine, the G7 leaders will discuss the war in Gaza and China’s industrial policy. Pope Francis will speak at the summit, making him the first pope to ever address a G7 summit. He’ll be speaking on Friday about the promises and perils of artificial intelligence but is expected to also renew his appeal for a peaceful end to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war in Gaz, as per AP.

The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Italy, which is hosting the summit, has invited several African leaders — Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Kenyan President William Ruto and Tunisian President Kis Saied — to press Meloni’s development and migration initiatives on the continent.



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